Fresno CA police seek help in fatal shooting of man in car

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A man found dead inside a car this week was apparently killed days earlier by a gunshot, the Fresno Police Department reported, with detectives now seeking help from the public in solving the case.

It was Wednesday, about 7 p.m., when officers arrived to check on a report of a body in a vehicle in the 4300 block of East Lamona Avenue.

The man has been identified as 47-year-old James Soto of Fresno.

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James Soto, 47, was found dead inside a vehicle on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. FRESNO POLICE DEPARTMENT

Homicide Investigators believe that he was killed in the days leading up to the discovery of the body. An autopsy revealed he had been shot in the upper body.

No suspects have been identified, Fresno Police Lt. Larry Bowlan said.

Detectives are asking anyone with information to call police at 559-621-7000 or Crime Stoppers at 559-498-7867, where they have the option to remain anonymous.

A GoFundMe account has been established for Soto’s family.

Run of violence, shootings continues

Fresno officers have been dealing in recent months with a dramatic increase in shootings, which Chief Andy Hall blames at least in part on the state’s zero-dollar bail policy instituted to slow the spread of the coronavirus by reducing jail populations.

California ended the statewide program, limited to misdemeanor and other low-level offenders, on June 20 but Fresno County was put under a 90-day extension amid continued problems with a COVID-19 outbreak.

Numbers cited by Hall were stark, including 104 shootings in September compared to 22 in the same month a year earlier.

A woman killed Friday morning in northwest Fresno after being shot in a car was listed as the city’s 43rd homicide of the year. There were 36 homicides last year through October and 45 for the entire year.

There were 32 homicides in 2018 but 56 in 2017.

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Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Las Vegas Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.
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